PM makes secret donation after 26-night stay at Sir Cliff's

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair and his family spent almost the whole of last August in the Barbados villa owned by Sir Cliff Richard, the Register of Members' Interests reveals.

The Blairs were given free use of the villa for 26 nights, although they later paid a donation to charity in lieu of rent. Downing Street declined to say yesterday how much they gave, or to which charity. The cost of renting a villa of similar size has been estimated at £10,000 a week. Mr Blair's entry says he paid all the other costs of the holiday, including flights.

The Prime Minister has also, for the first time, declared some of his wife's income. Though it does not say how much she earned, he registered royalties from Cherie Blair's book The Goldfish Bowl: Married to the Prime Minister 1955-1997, and her fees for speaking engagements in Washington, Australia, New Zealand and Florida.

A note says that the book was registered because it "makes reference to her life in Downing Street" and the four speaking engagements because they "included some discussion of my wife's life in 10 Downing Street".

The Australia visit attracted adverse publicity when it emerged that it had raised only £7,000 for charity despite Mrs Blair being paid a reputed £10,000.

Mr Blair's spokesman said he was not required to list his wife's earnings but that he had decided "to err on the side of caution".

Chris Grayling, the shadow Leader of the Commons, said: "It underlines the importance of establishing a code of conduct for prime ministerial spouses, which should stipulate that profits from such activities go to charity."

The big earners at Westminster

WILLIAM HAGUE, Conservative.

Fees up to £925,000 from speeches and newspaper articles, including £200,000 for his weekly column in The News of the World, up to £50,000 for acting as parliamentary adviser to the JCB Group, and between £65,000 and £70,000 for his membership of Terra Firma Capital Partners. He has two paid company directorships, and the royalties from his biography of William Pitt on top of the amounts declared.

ANN WIDDECOMBE, Conservative.

Now established as a novelist, she was paid £245,000 in fees, including a £100,000 advance for her third and fourth books. The remaining £145,000 comes from speeches, articles and television appearances, including up to £30,000 for being the BBC's roving agony aunt.

GEORGE GALLOWAY, Respect.

Book advances and fees up to £155,000, including between £75,000 and £80,000 for the column he writes for The Mail on Sunday, and an advance between £25,000 and £30,000 for his book I'm Not the Only One, which is published by Penguin.

BORIS JOHNSON, Conservative.

Writing and speaking fees up to £150,000, which includes £75,000 for his column for The Daily Telegraph. On top of the amounts declared, he also has his salary as editor of The Spectator.

DAVID BLUNKETT, Labour.

The former Home Secretary declared earnings up to £92,000 in the first four months of 2005, including between £15,000 and £20,000 paid by Indepen Consulting for his advice on relations between government and business.

DIANE ABBOTT, Labour.

Fees up to £80,000 from newspaper articles and television appearances, including between £15,000 and £30,000 for BBC 1's politics programme This Week.

MICHAEL GOVE, Conservative.

Fees up to £75,000, including £65,000 for his column in The Times.

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